8 Great Ways for Kids to Learn French

You might associate language learning with textbooks and exams, but there’s actually a ton of fun French learning material for kids that’ll hold their attention while developing skills that’ll last a lifetime.

Keep reading for some excellent ways to help your kids learn French. 


1. Incorporate French into Their Daily Lives

Child playing with toys

So how do you start the process of introducing your children to French? My suggestion is to incorporate French at home in simple ways. Here are a few language topics that provide an easy entry point:


Start by referencing common food and meal-time vocabulary to give kids context. Not only is this one of the simplest ways to start introducing French at home, but you’ll also be teaching your kids commonly used words. Par exemple (for example): le petit déjeuner (breakfast), le repas (meal), le yaourt (yogurt) and la cuillère (spoon).


These are some of the first words that kids will start learning in both an English and a French context. Ask children to start using merci (thank you), s’il te plaît (please, informal) and de rien (you’re welcome) in day-to-day conversations.


When I was in the first grade, I learned a song that taught me the colors of the rainbow in French. I still use this song when I’m trying to remember the order of the colors that make up a rainbow. Once kids have a good grasp of colors, you can start attaching them to the food names that they’ve already learned: la pomme rouge (the red apple), l’abricot orange (the orange apricot), etc.

Common places

It’s important to provide context for vocabulary, otherwise it’ll go in one ear and out the other. It’s for this reason that learning the names of common places or things that kids encounter daily can be so helpful, whether it be l’école (school) or l’autobus (bus).

If they have a visual cue that they encounter multiple times a day, this will bring the word to mind and help it stick.

Label household objects with vocabulary stickers

Vocabulary Stickers are colorful, durable labels that’ll let you mark almost any object in your home with the equivalent French word. That way, you’ll be learning French vocabulary naturally and in context, as opposed to rote memorization of boring word lists.

Better yet, Vocabulary Stickers are color-coded based on the grammatical gender of each noun. Gender is one of the hardest elements of French for native English speakers, and this extra layer of association will make it much easier for your kids (and you!) to tackle.

Once you’ve got your kids’ feet wet with some basic French words, it’s time to dive into some more comprehensive strategies.

Traditional methods such as French immersion and private tutors remain popular, but these require an investment of time, effort and resources. If you’re not ready to take that plunge, or if you’d rather try out a few other strategies, there are lots of options. Different kids will be receptive to different approaches, so make sure to try out a few, or rotate according to your needs.

2. Use Diverse French Learning Materials

One effective way of learning French is by utilizing materials that come in multiple formats. Not only does this keep your wallet in check, but it also allows kids to quickly become familiar with stories and characters (making them less reluctant to watch or read in French) and holds broader appeal to many learning styles.


Barbapapa takes your kids on a French-language adventure with a pink animated blob and other characters of varying shapes, sizes and colors. What are they, exactly? No one really knows, other than that barbe à papa, which the word barbapapa resembles, means cotton candy.

They’re a family of characters that started in a book and later evolved into a TV show. You can access video clips, interactive books and games through the Barbapapa website.

“The Adventures of Tintin”

Tintin is a favorite comic for kids worldwide, and it remains one of the most popular comics in Europe. Since it was first penned, it’s been reimagined in many TV shows and movies.

Kids of all ages will enjoy following the wild stories of Tintin as he traverses the globe, and there’s no shortage of them! Tintin can be purchased, in its many formats, directly from the official Tintin website. There’s even a section of books made especially for kids.

Pomme d’api

This French magazine, whose title refers to a variety of apple, produces materials for kids from one to 18. They also offer parent resources and activity guides to accompany their materials.

Characters from popular French books like “Petit Ours Brun” (“Little Brown Bear”) can also be found within Pomme d’api issues.

3. Use Flashcards for Learning on the Go

Busy family? This is a great way for your child to learn French on the go and in the spare moments of the day, like sitting on the bus or waiting in the doctor’s office. It can be adapted for a variety of ages and skill levels.

Feeling crafty? Make your own flashcards. The best part is that you’re killing three birds with one stone because you’ll be working on your own French, helping your child learn French and you can even involve your kids in making these cards too.

Of course, you could go the traditional route and buy your own. There are many kinds available both in stores and online. Here’s one highly-rated set from Amazon.

4. Make Learning Fun with Tic Tac Boum

Board games are a fantastic learning tool for kids because they teach through repetition and structure, but without getting boring. Especially for those competitive little ones! They’re also a great option if you’re teaching multiple kids at once.

There are a number of games to choose from, but my top pick would be Tic Tac Boum (Tic Tac Bang), a board game that’s built around French vocabulary. You can play with a small or large group (between two and 12 players), and there’s both a junior and regular version, so your kid can graduate to the adult version of the game once they’ve outgrown the junior version. (And believe me—they’ll want to!)

In the junior version, players set a “bomb” and pick a card that describes a place (for example, sous la terre — underground). Each player takes a turn holding the bomb and thinking of a word that fits in that category before passing the bomb to their neighbor.

In the regular version, the game becomes a bit more complex as players pick a card with a specific syllable (for example “tou”) and they pass the bomb around thinking of a word that incorporates that syllable (for example, partout — everywhere).

5. Make Learning French a Family Activity

Kids often have the best chance at success in learning French if they’re in an environment conducive to frequent practice. How do you do that?

Make French the language of choice at home

Unless you live in a French-speaking area, kids are immersed in the dominant language of their community. The tendency will always be to revert back to their language of comfort, but try and avoid this.

If the child knows the French word, request that they use that word and don’t respond unless they do. This is the way my mother, not a native French speaker, raised bilingual children who still speak only in French to one another even though we all live in English-speaking areas.

Attend events hosted by your local Francophile or Francophone community

Many moderately sized cities will have a French-speaking community organization. Through these organizations, you can be in-the-know about French plays, public book readings and other events.

There are several organizations that can connect you with these events. For starters, check out your local Alliance Française (French Alliance). Your local college’s language department might also be able to point you to French groups.

Organize a French movie night

You can find French movies on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other online streaming services. You can also borrow them from the library, and French organizations will sometimes host screenings.

To start off, my personal selection would be “Les Triplettes de Belleville” (“The Triplets of Belleville”), which you can purchase on Amazon.

For shorter clips from French movies and other media, you can use an immersive language learning program like FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

FluentU Ad

6. Read Fairy Tales in French

This can be an easy approach to helping kids learn French because it provides a sense of familiarity and comfort. Learning a language is hard, but if kids can latch onto a familiar character or storyline, they may be more likely to engage with a French book.

You can also get a feel for this approach by trying out the International Children’s Digital Library, which has hundreds of children’s books in a variety of languages.

Of course, you can borrow books from the library or purchase titles online. To get started, here are five French fairy tales that are great for language learners.

7. Enroll Kids in a French Course

This may sound a little intense, but for the kid who needs structure, a course can be helpful in jumpstarting their French. Here are two options:

Online course

The pro of an online course for kids like PetraLingua is that it’s convenient, offered at a reasonable price and provides learning in a multimedia environment. That’s great for the kid who’s good on the computer and likes to learn through visual games and activities.

The con is that there’s less of a sense of accountability than with an in-person course and less opportunity for verbal practice.

In-person learning

If you live in the U.S., the Alliance Française is again a good option for finding courses. This is a great way to consistently and frequently immerse children in French. Another bonus is that they’ll make friends who are interested in French.

The downside is that courses can come at a greater cost and require a greater investment of time.

8. Listen to Kids’ Music in French

Ok, I’ve saved the easiest option for last. One final way of immersing your kids in French is to surround them with French music (this is also a good way to learn French yourself).

Not only does this help with pronunciation, vocabulary and familiarity with French, but it also requires very little effort on your part—and you may find yourself picking up some new words!

The problem? Most kids’ music is terrible. But fear not. I’ve chosen some music that your kids will love, and that won’t drive you too crazy. And because home is where the heart is, the majority are French Canadian music that my family and I enjoy:

Madame Diva

You can purchase Madame Diva’s music on iTunes, and check out the videos on YouTube (linked from her site). Get ready for lots of folk-inspired music and imagery.

Charlotte Diamond

“Je Suis une Pizza” (“I’m a Pizza”) is certified solid gold, but Charlotte Diamond has lots of other good music too, and it’s available in both French and English. Warning: this stuff will get stuck in your head. Also available on iTunes or through her website.

“Allo Monsieur! French Canadian Children’s Songs:” 

Okay, this one takes a little bit more effort on your part, but it makes my list because it uses games to engage kids in the music. For example, one song involves children jumping rope to a beat, while another incorporates a ball-bouncing activity.

These songs are accompanied by instruction guides that explain how to incorporate the game as well as questions to ask children about the sound of French, the words and the rhythm.


Even if your child is resistant to learning French at first, there are a variety of strategies you can utilize to get and keep them interested.

And one more thing...

If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.

FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:


FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.


For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:


Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."


All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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